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Mare-Joée Lord IT TAKES FIVE

TO TANGO On March 3, Marie-Josée Lord and the quartet Quartango will share “Tangopéra” in the beautiful Partridge Hall. The concert will feature music ranging from Puccini and Bizet to Gershwin and Weill, alongside pioneers of tango such as Ángel Villoldo, Carlos Gardel and, of course, Astor Pi-azzolla. Half the tracks on the album feature the tango and milonga-based, hard- driving instrumental rhythms of Quartango. Lord, backed by the quartet, sings in the others, putting a remarkable spin on repertoire much of which the audience will have heard many times, but, safe to say, not like this!

Something similar happened to Lord herself when she first encountered the Montreal- based group: “When I first heard Quartango’s version of the aria ‘Quando men vo,’ from Puccini’s La Bohème,” she says, “I was startled, because I couldn’t quite place it, even though I’d sung the original version countless times.”

Lord is a distinguished soprano, who was born in Haiti, adopted at the age of six by two Canadians working in Haiti at the time, and grew up in Lévis, Quebec. She made her operatic debut in 2003 with the Opéra de Québec in the role of Liù in Puccini’s Turandot, and has performed several important roles with the Opéra de Montréal (Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème, the title role in his Suor Angelica and Nedda in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci). At the time of a memorable Koerner Hall recital in Toronto in October 2012, she talked to Trish Crawford of the Toronto Star about her childhood years in a nutrition centre in Haiti.

“I was in bad shape,” says Lord, “Most of the children were orphans. There we could have a meal and education.” She returned to Haiti in 2011, wanting to “close the circle” and found deep pride in her heritage and people. Lord grew up in Quebec studying piano and violin until her musical direction changed when she overheard a conservatory singing. “I heard a lyric class and was fascinated by the production, how to build opera and all the rehearsals,” she said.

As for Quartango itself, the quartet was formed an astonishing 30 years ago. The group consists of four musicians; René Gosselin, double bass, Stéphane Aubin, piano, Antoine Bareil, violin, and Jonathan Goldman, bandoneon (an instrument operated by a bellows, akin to the accordion).

Lord intends to “invite the audience into my lyric world.” There’s no doubt that her collaboration with Quartango over the past five years has significantly expanded the boundaries of that “lyric world.” In the album liner notes Lord reflects on their “love of risk-taking and the unexpected” and their ability to take well-known melodies and blend them into unique hybrids of tango, opera, pop-ular song, jazz, classical and many other genres. “Today, when I sing the original version of the ‘Habanera’ from Carmen,” says Lord, “I almost feel as if it’s missing something.”

The audience at “Tangopéra” on March 3 will delight in the Quartango’s unique treatments of familiar repertoire will take audiences to the next musical plain.

- Hans DeGroot (with permission from David Perlman, publisher)


Members bring your friends for FREE!

7:30PM Thu 3 Mar

with Quartango Tangopéra

Marie-Josée Lord & Quartango: Tangopéra Partridge Hall MEMBERS: $44.20 REGULAR: $52 COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY: $25 HIGH SCHOOL: $5

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